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Textiles and Clothing, Division of
Theatre and Dance

Textiles and Clothing, Division of
The Division of Textiles and Clothing celebrated its 25th anniversary at Davis in 1999. Established in 1974 as an offshoot of the Department of Consumer Sciences, the unit traces its roots to the home economics programs at Berkeley and Davis. When home economics at Berkeley was phased out, the two faculty members who taught in the textiles and clothing area, Mary Ann Morris and Agnes McClellan, were invited to become part of the expanded program at Davis. At the time, in 1962, little research in textiles was being done at Davis. Therefore, the move required extensive remodeling of the home economics building to accommodate new research needs.

In the mid-1960s the Davis program in home economics went through a number of structural changes that resulted in the formation of several new departments, including the Department of Consumer Sciences, under the administration of the associate dean for Family and Consumer Sciences. The Department of Consumer Sciences was composed of faculty from textiles and clothing, consumer foods, and consumer behavior. A few years later the consumer foods faculty moved to the Department of Food Science, and in 1974 the department was renamed the Division of Textiles and Clothing to reflect the focus of the remaining faculty. Prior to 1977, students at the master's level could major in home economics or consumer sciences with a concentration in textiles. By 1977 there was sufficient critical mass in the area of textiles to offer an M.S. in textiles, while a Ph.D. degree was offered through the agricultural chemistry graduate group.

In the 1960s and 1970s faculty research centered primarily on textile science, with a focus on consumer end uses. Research was conducted in the areas of comfort and safety (e.g., air pollution, flame resistance) and the chemistry and physics of natural and synthetic fibers. Hiring of faculty with backgrounds in the social sciences in the late 1970s and early 1980s resulted in expansion of research to include the psychological, social, and cultural aspects of clothing.

Today the unique strength of the textiles program derives from its disciplinary expertise in areas ranging from fiber chemistry, polymer science, and textile engineering to consumer psychology and cultural studies, as well as its interdisciplinary perspective on commodity-relevant issues. Special areas of emphasis include cotton fiber quality, textile marketing and cultural diversity, biomass materials, textile products for health and safety, and consumer decision making. The division offers the only textiles program in the UC system, while California is the second largest fiber/textile/apparel-producing state in the nation.

Individual faculty members and the faculty as a whole have won numerous awards. These include the American Chemical Society's Anselme Payen award, fellowships of the International Textile and Apparel Association, fellowships of the Textile Institute, fellowships of the Cellulose, Paper and Textile Division of the American Chemical Society, Fiber Society lecturerships, and the 20th Century Award for Achievement, International Biographical Centre, medalist. The faculty as a whole won the American Textile Manufacturers Institute Excellence in Teaching award in 1993. source

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Theatre and Dance
The Department of Theatre and Dance was formally established in 1961, although dramatic studies have been a vital part of the UC Davis campus since the 1920s. Early classes and productions in dramatic art were headquartered in the English division (later the Department of English, Dramatic Art, and Speech, headed for a time by Celeste Turner Wright). Wright, who chaired the English department for 27 of her 51 years at UCD (1928-1979), directed about 20 plays and occasionally taught a course in drama. These early plays were performed in an auditorium on the site of the current Shields Library. Because female students made up only a small portion of the undergraduate population before World War II, selecting and casting plays could be difficult. Years later, in the fall of 1997, the UC Davis Main Theatre was named the Celeste Turner Wright Hall in honor of her pioneering efforts.

The Wyatt Pavilion Theatre, located across Putah Creek from the department, was inaugurated in 1963. Originally a cattle judging pavilion, the building initially sat on the north side of the creek but was later moved and converted into an Elizabethan-style indoor thrust-stage performance area with seating for 221. The current Main Theatre, a state-of-the-art facility with proscenium seating for 512, was built in 1967.

In 1980 the department inaugurated a program unique in American university theater: the Granada Artists-in-Residence program. The department contacted Granada Television in England, chosen because of its wealth of contacts in the British theater, and set up a committee to recommend professional artists for teaching and directing at UC Davis for one quarter each. The first Granada artist arrived in winter 1982. Since then, theater and dance students have benefited from working with established professional directors, writers, and dancers on dramatic productions and in classes.

In the mid-1990s, during the university funding crisis, the department underwent a major transition. Longtime (22 years) Chair Robert Fahrner retired, along with the majority of other senior faculty members. During the transitional period that ensued, the department discontinued three of its Master of Fine Arts programs (directing, design, and playwriting) and its M.A. program. Under the leadership of new Chair Janelle Reinelt, however, the department reemerged at the end of the decade with expanded M.F.A. and Ph.D. programs. The department today produces up to ten shows a year as part of its mission to train theater and dance students both in practical areas of stage performance and in the theoretical area of performance analysis. The current faculty represents specialists in cutting-edge theories of performance, and the department is poised to become a leader in undergraduate and graduate training in the next century. source

See also Dramatic Art and Speech.

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